An Obama administration official traveled to Oklahoma City Saturday to offer words of praise to congregants at the mosque attended by Alton Nolen, the recent Muslim convert who beheaded a co-worker last month.
David Myers, the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, spoke at the Greater Islamic Society of Oklahoma City’s Eid al-Adha celebration, according to KFOR.
“Your service is a powerful example of the shared roots of the Abrahamic faiths and how our communities can come together in shared peace with dignity and a sense of justice,” said Myers, reading from a letter penned by President Barack Obama.
At the DHS center, which falls under the control of FEMA, Myers’ job is to “build, sustain and improve effective partnerships between DHS and faith-based and voluntary organizations.”
According to KFOR, in the letter Obama thanked the congregation for their community service in the aftermath of a devastating tornado that wrecked havoc in Moore last year.
Myers’ special trip was seemingly meant to counteract negative attention the mosque has received following Nolen’s gruesome murder of coworker Colleen Hufford.
Nolen, 30, murdered and beheaded Hufford on Sept. 25 at Vaughan Foods in Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City. Nolen, who goes by the name Jah-Keem Yisrael, attended the Greater Islamic Society of Oklahoma City, though the mosque’s imam and other congregants have distanced themselves from him.
Nolen had been suspended from his job at Vaughan Foods shortly before the attacks after he reportedly stated his support for the stoning of women and said that he disliked white people. Nolen, who is black, was suspended after those comments were reported to supervisors.
After the suspension, Nolen allegedly retrieved a knife from his home and went back to the plant seeking revenge. According to an affidavit, Nolen attacked Hufford from behind, stabbing her repeatedly before beheading her.
Nolen then began attacking another co-worker before an armed supervisor shot and wounded him. Both Nolen and his second victim survived.
Nolen was charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty. (RELATED: Oklahoma Beheader Alton Nolen Celebrated Terrorists On Facebook)
Federal and local authorities have avoided tying Nolen’s attacks to his Muslim faith, asserting that the acts are a case of workplace violence. Nolen was reportedly enthralled by online videos depicting beheadings such as the ones recently carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) against American and British citizens.
According to KFOR, the mosque’s imam Imad Enchassi claims that numerous voice mail threats have been made against the place of worship and its congregants in recent weeks. Enchassi has reported the threats to the FBI and police were present at Saturday’s Eid celebration, KFOR reported.